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Indian Battery Recycling Company Attero Will Invest USD 1 Billion to Build Factories in the US, Poland, and Indonesia
2022-06-15   |  Editor:et_editor  |  135 Numbers

Indian battery recycling company Attero Recycling (Pvt.) has announced a massive overseas capacity expansion plan that involves setting up factories for processing discarded Li-ion batteries in the US, Poland, and Indonesia over the next five years. The plan, which entails an estimated investment of USD 1 billion, was first reported by news agencies including Reuters and Bloomberg on May 31. Attero is currently the largest battery recycling company in India.

Nitin Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Attero, confirmed its plan with Reuters in an interview and said that there will be three new plants respectively located in the US state of Ohio, Poland, and Indonesia. If everything goes according to schedule, the plant in Poland will be the first to enter operation by the fourth quarter of 2022, followed by the plant in the US by the third quarter of 2023 and the plant in Indonesia by the first quarter of 2024. Attero’s recycling capacity is currently around 11,000 metric tons per year. The company aims to reach above 300,000 metric tons per year by 2027. Gupta hopes that by then, company will be able to satisfy 15% of global demand for lithium, cobalt, and graphite with recovered materials from discarded batteries.

The article on Attero’s capacity expansion plan from website Electrive speculates that Attero’s recycling technology is based on a hydrometallurgical process instead of a pyrometallurgical process. The former involves physical force and chemical reactions, whereas the latter involves high heat. Gupta said that his company has achieved a material recovery rate of 98%, which means that the company has probably adopted a hydrmetallurgical process. Compared with the pyrometallurgical process, the hydrometallurgical process is much less energy-intensive and much more efficient. However, Gupta did not disclose the actual recycling technology in the interview.

Besides discarded Li-ion batteries, Attero also collects and processes other types of e-wastes across hundreds of cities in India. Moreover, the company has built plants in Mexico and Ireland to handle local e-wastes. Regarding investors and financial support, World Bank is among the Attero’s backers and has injected capital into the company through IFC. As for Attero’s clients in the battery recycling market, they include Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, Tata Motor, and Maruti Suzuki India. Glencore also buys recovered metals from Attero and then sell them Tesla.

Gupta told Reuters that his company is not only addressing a serious environmental problem but also seeking to become a major participant in the electronics supply chain. Specifically, Attero can supply “green” metals such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium to gigafactories. This, in turn, limits mining activities that tend to cause more pollution and consume more resources such as water. In another interview with news website Tech in Asia, Gupta pointed out that Indonesia was an “obvious choice” for overseas capacity expansion because the country is rich in nickel, but at the same time its government intends to maximize the value of this resource and set up a domestic e-mobility system.

Reuters noted that Attero’s competitors include Li-Cycle Holdings and Redwood Materials that are respectively based in Canada and the US. Many manufacturers for batteries and electric cars are also getting involved in battery recycling. For example, CATL’s subsidiary Brunp specializes in battery recycling and is collaborating with German chemical supplier BASF in this field.

 
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